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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

#ATBR2020 Review: How Quickly She Disappears by Raymond Fleischmann @jessmapreviews

How Quickly She Disappeared 
by Raymond Fleischmann 

Thank you Berkley for this copy.

Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: January 14, 2020
320 Pages
Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

The Dry meets Silence of the Lambs in this intoxicating tale of literary suspense set in the relentless Alaskan landscape about madness and obsession, loneliness and grief, and the ferocious bonds of family …

It’s 1941 in small-town Alaska and Elisabeth Pfautz is alone. She’s living far from home, struggling through an unhappy marriage, and she spends her days tutoring her precocious young daughter. Elisabeth’s twin sister disappeared without a trace twenty years earlier, and Elisabeth’s life has never recovered. Cryptic visions of her sister haunt her dreams, and Elisabeth’s crushing loneliness grows more intense by the day. But through it all, she clings to one belief: That her sister is still alive, and that they’ll be reunited one day.

And that day may be coming soon. Elisabeth’s world is upended when Alfred Seidel — an enigmatic German bush pilot — arrives in town and murders a local man in cold blood. Sitting in his cell in the wake of his crime, Alfred refuses to speak to anyone except for Elisabeth. He has something to tell her: He knows exactly what happened to her long-missing sister, but he’ll reveal this truth only if Elisabeth fulfills three requests.

Increasingly isolated from her neighbors and imprisoned by the bitter cold and her own obsession, Elisabeth lets herself slip deeper into Alfred’s web. A tenuous friendship forms between them, even as Elisabeth struggles to understand Alfred’s game and what he’s after.

But if it means she’ll get answers, she’s willing to play by his rules. She’s ready to sacrifice whatever it takes to be reunited with her sister, even if it means putting herself — and her family — in mortal danger.

My Review:

Here's my thoughts - don't compare any book to the likes of Silence of the Lambs, especially a debut novel as this tends to bring about certain expectations from the readers. Admittedly it is atmospheric like The Dry with that psychological warfare/cat-mouse game of Silence of the Lambs but let's not stretch this too far, eh?

I knew from the first few pages that this was going to be a slow burn where the characters override the plot. At one point, I considered putting this down.... but then it got quite interesting and I was curious enough to see this game play out. Alfred and Elisabeth. How far will she go to find her sister and does he really have any information? Color me intrigued. While the pacing was slower than I tend to like, this back and forth really had me turning the pages regardless. But then we get to that ending.

UGH. Ok, so I can't even say anything because I don't want to ruin it for anyone who is going to read this book. There's a part of me that appreciates the subtle genius of what the author did... and yet I was mad... MAD.. when I turned the last page. I aggressively slapped the jacket cover back on the book and slammed it into my book stack of my January reads. WHY. The WHOLE TIME it was leading here and then this is how you leave me? I suppose it says something that it evoked such a strong reaction from me, so there's that.


Jessica's Review:

Man, if I went into this one not seeing the comparison to the likes of THE DRY and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, then maybe I would have thought a little differently. I couldn't get that out of my mind as I was reading - hoping for some resemblance or similarities. When picking this one up, try to keep those expectations out of your mind and I think you will like it a lot more!

This debut from Raymond Fleischmann is definitely an atmospheric read - that's something I did really enjoy about the book! I love when the author can create the setting like this for us and really bring the readers into the book. This is one of the more character driven novels, so it has a slower pace. So if you're going into this hoping for something really quick and a crazy thriller, this might miss the mark for you. 

I will admit, I was very intrigued at the start but I'm not quite sure when it started to turn for me. The ending, though. I can't think of a book I've read recently that had an ending that bugged me like this one did. Maybe that was the author's intent? It almost feels like it's a set up for a series, but from what I can tell it's a standalone. I know there are many glowing reviews, so if the synopsis intrigues you, then definitely give it a chance. 

2 stars 

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